West News Wire: The Republican-controlled Tennessee state House of Representatives has seen the expulsion of two Democratic legislators, with one remaining. This is the first partisan expulsion in the state’s contemporary history.

The three legislators, State Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin J. Pearson, who were all expelled, were subjected to separate expulsion hearings on Thursday for allegedly breaking the decorum standards of the chamber by taking part in a gun control demonstration at the state Capitol the previous week. 

The trio led shouts using a megaphone at one point during the demonstration while standing beside the well of the House chambers. The protest followed the terrible shooting at Covenant School in Nashville on March 27, in which a former student killed three children and three adults, police have said. 

Days later, Tennessee Republican Reps. Bud Hulsey, Gino Bulso and Andrew Farmer sponsored the expulsion resolutions, arguing the three Democratic lawmakers “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.” 

Jones, the first lawmaker expelled when House members voted to adopt HR65 Thursday, called the resolution “a spectacle” and “a lynch mob assembled to not lynch me, but our democratic process.” 

“We called for you all to ban assault weapons and you respond with an assault on democracy,” Jones said during his 20-minute opening statement. 

Following the adoption of the expulsion resolution, Jones said his ouster set a “precedent that any member who voices dissent or opposition can be expelled from the legislative body.” “Today is a very dangerous day for America,” he said in a hallway interview after the vote. 

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Earlier in the Thursday session, the legislature passed HB322, a bill that requires schools to implement a number of safety plans and security systems, including requiring locked doors and active shooter training for school security guards, over the objections of the three members who faced expulsion. 

President Joe Biden said in a statement that the move to oust the lawmakers was “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent,” arguing Republicans in Tennessee were focused on punishing lawmakers who “stood in solidarity with students and families and helped lift their voices” rather than pushing for gun control reforms. 


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